Beef farmers have to change their attitudes to the supply chain to secure better returns, a new study suggests.

The latest in Cardiff Business School’s series of value chain analyses in the red meat sector found that Scotch Premier Meats in Inverurie, Aberdeenshire, sometimes suffered from erratic supplies.

“One farmer books in cattle and, on his way to abattoir, will ring competitors.

If he can get 1p/kg more, he will drive to them instead,” said Raymond Wight at SPM. This forced the abattoir to keep 50 animals overnight so it could start killing on time every morning, incurring extra costs.

Local Aberdeen Angus producer, William Ritch, said that a loyalty bonus was the best way to assure supplies.

“Unfortunately, the abattoir said that would never happen.

However, it was interesting meeting other members of the chain – it seems our job is dead simple compared to what the next guy down the chain has to deal with, especially on red tape.”